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Managing the Collections (Collections Access, Loan and Management Division)
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Services Offered by the Collections Access, Loan and Management Division

General Reading Rooms
(Main, Local History & Genealogy, Science & Business)

Book Service

Request books and other materials from the Library's general collections by submitting a completed call slip. Retrieved items and/or other responses are delivered to your desk. Generally, retrieval for materials housed from the same building takes less than an hour, while retrieval from the remote building takes at least ninety minutes. Each researcher is required to have a Reader Identification card issued by the Library. The cards are free and can be obtained by completing a simple self-registration process and presenting a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport at the Reader Registration Station, Room LM140, Madison Building. Reader Identification cards are valid for two years and must be renewed in-person when they expire.

Hold Service

Instead of delivery to a desk, items retrieved can be held at the Center Desk. You should write your last name in the spot on the call slip designated for a desk number. Books retrieved in this manner will be held at the desk until the reading room closes for the day. Books not picked up by the end of the day are returned to the stacks and may not be re-shelved for several days.

Advance Reserves

CALM offers the following types of advance reserves:

  • Overnight Reserve Service
  • Saturday Reserve Service
  • Advance Reserve Service
  • Special Advance Retrieval Service

Seven-Day Reserve

It normally takes several days for a book to be re-shelved and be ready for retrieval once it has been used and returned in the reading room. Researchers, however, may reserve up to five books for seven (7) working days in designated Seven-Day Reserve areas. Consult with the Book Service staff in the reading room where you are working for the location and procedure for reserving materials. Each item placed on these shelves must contain a completed reserve slip with the researcher's name and the date of the first day of reserve. Researchers must place items on the reserve shelves themselves. Library staff members do not perform this function. Reference books may not be reserved.

Special Search Service -- "Not on Shelf" Responses

A title from the General Collections that has been reported as "not on shelf" may be submitted for a special search. You can submit an online special search by going to the following Web address: A comprehensive search is conducted over a thirty-day period. The CALM Division provides special search service for requests for titles in the general collections which resulted in not-on-shelf reports. Responses to searches will be returned via e-mail or surface mail as requested. With the advent of the new online request service, the CALM Division has discontinued the practice of accepting hard copy requests. Hard copy requests will only be accepted through special arrangement with management.

Study Shelves

To facilitate serious and extended research, a limited number of individual study shelves are available where researchers can keep charged materials for long term use. This program is administered by the Humanities and Social Sciences Division.

Comments, Complaints, Commendations

The users of CALM's services are encouraged to provide feedback, whether positive or negative, on the service they have received. Comment forms are available in the Main Reading Room or patrons can contact us at Ask a Librarian.

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  Home >> Services Offered
  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
  May 31, 2008
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